Being out of action for the past two weeks or so, and now just starting to come right as far as being able to use my arm is concerned, I thought I would kill a few birds with one stone.
I have paints, canvas and also a need to paint. Sadly at this point with our plans to emigrate next year there is no real reason to produce any more ‘physical’ paintings. Digital is so much easier to ‘take with you’, but maybe there is another Modi fan out there somewhere? Right?
However, while lounging about on the sofa a lot last week I finally got to finish one of my books about Modigliani. This one was called Modigliani – A Life: by Jeffrey Meyers.
If you have ever seen the movie starring Andy Garcia, you would think that Modigliani was a romantic, erratic yet tragic figure. I am sure this was the intention of this movie , but there were also parts that were true to his life. I did have a giggle watching it again as I noticed Peter Capaldi (Dr Who), cast as Jean Cocteau – and I recognised his character immediately – and even more of a giggle was Jim Carter (Downton Abbey) as Jeanne Hebuterne’s father! I half expected him to say “M’Lord”!
This book, while painting a less flattering portrait of him, also yields wonderful insights into his life, his circle of friends and acquaintances, many of them very well known in the creative arts at the time.
For me as an artist, one of the best things I got from this particular book was a new way of looking at the paintings of the people he knew and were a part of his life. He seemed to have painted them as he personally saw them – no matter how beautiful or not they looked in real life.
It has been 10 years since I saw the Modigliani: Beyond the Myth exhibition in Toronto, but if I ever get the chance to see his work in the flesh again, I’ll be off like a shot. It would be interesting to see those paintings and sculptures again after all the books I have read about him over the years.
Personally I think he was an utterly tormented soul. On the one hand he had a talent that was quite unique at the time, yet his own ego (and self destructive behaviour and addictions) truly got in the way. That seems to be something so many creative people suffer from in one way or another, and their genius or talent only becomes apparent after they have gone.
Anyway I decided to have a bit of a play around. I don’t think you can ever reproduce paintings perfectly, and that should never be the intention. I have just loved his work for so long I really enjoy ‘having a go’.
The painting I did below took me just a couple of hours for about two days. That was intentional. It is acrylic on a 16 x 20 inch stretched canvas. (I will be giving it a coat of gloss in a few days). It is definitely not an exact copy of his “The Algerian Almaisa 1917” – just my take on it. I also used the reference photo in one of the books I have – and that photo is only about 3 inches by 1.5 inches! Maybe I should have picked one of the full page plates huh? No matter – I merely decided to wing it and make it my own.
I actually have quite a lot of Modigliani’s I have painted in the last 12 years – oils, acrylics, digital, coloured pencils – so I may put them together in a little tribute video in the next couple of weeks. Why? Because I can!
Thanks for taking the time to check this post out. I have another Modigliani inspired painting (again acrylics) sitting on my easel. Base colours are done, and the next step will be to think about how I want mine to look… hmm… could be fun!